Oh, wow. At this point I am starting to completely disagree with Mr Changsha on almost everything he has said in his last posts. I don´t even know, where to start.
Mr Changsha wrote:''But they can set them up themselves!!!" I hear you all cry. But I wager the new player is rarely immediately premium. He must join a game.
This is wrong, I believe. Freemiums can start/create casual games ? They can not start private games, that´s all ?
Your definition of the casual player is seriously lacking. I had friends playing at this site, who never visited the forums, gave a rats ass about the Scoreboard, clans, etc. Only came here to play games and did so for years. Casual fun players in every meaning of the word, and guess what their preferred games were: Feudal Foggy, AoR Foggy, ...
Not everybody is playing special maps & settings, because they think, that it is the best way to gain points & rank. As a matter of fact, I actually believe, most play them, because they simply like to play them.
I just looked at the top of the Scoreboard, and from what I see there, at least 50% of the current Top 20-50 are Sequential players. Some of them almost exclusively playing Standard Esc games.
From my own experience I can tell you: Playing 6-8 player Standard Esc games, Sunny & on old school Risk maps, you can reach General and even 4000+ points. If you are good enough.
Your arguments in that regard sound rather like a personal grudge of someone, who has peaked with his personally preferred settings. And you have started that argument about 100 times in different threads in the past already. Yes, playing Standard Flat Rate games you will not reach the Top 20 of the Scoreboard. The reason being, that - different from Standard Esc games - beyond a certain point you don´t find enough players of similar rank anymore to fill your games.
And yet again, from personal experience, I can tell you, why: Unless you have lop-sided dice in the early rounds or someone makes a really stupid mistake, that upsets the entire balance of the game, a huge percentage of Flat Rate Standard games develop into never-ending stalemate building games. And after a few 100 of these games, they are about as exciting as watching paint go dry. Thus many players (myself included), once they have mastered this particular setting, get bored with it and move on to different games.
As I see it, the many special maps & settings are actually what keeps many old-timers interested, so they stick around & keep playing. Because there still is something new to discover, a new challenge to be had, a new interesting twist to the game to be tried.
I agree, that the scoring system is f*cked. But I don´t think, that this is the reason for the decline of the site.
I remember, that a couple of years ago there were never less than 18.000 players on the Scoreboard, and at times as many as 22-23.000. So there is a decline, that much is obvious. But let´s be honest: The discussions about the scoring system, about the Sequential-Freestyle conflict and about Farming issues we had already back then, years ago, when the member count was at its height.
Maybe the f*cked scoring system is a reason for some people to leave/quit the site. But there are many other reasons: People just getting bored with the game and moving on to something else, people undergoing changes in RL and not having time for it anymore, etc.
The problem is, that obviously not enough new players sign up & stay around. And there have been some very good posts here, why that might be so, and what could be done about that.
For players to become frustrated with the scoring system, they must have been around for quite a while already to realise the problems with it. These however are certainly not the main problems for the casual fun player, who - by definition - doesn´t care too deeply about the Scoreboard anyway.
Still: Certainly problems, that have gone unanswered for way too long, with pretty obvious solutions being suggested again and again: Separation of the Scoreboard. Sequential-Freestyle at the very least. If people insist, further separation might be possible (Singles - Team, whatever). But this, in my opinion at least, it is a different discussion entirely.
And now I stop myself, before this become any longer ...